Episode 43. Interview with Vince Del Monte: Muscle Fiber Activation

Feb 13, 2017 | 0 comments

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Show Notes

We had Vince Del Monte on for an interview about training for muscle activation, and thinking through what your goal is with your training. There was a lot of overlap with what Vince talked about and what Scott has said about innervation principles, but there was also some disagreements about things, such as tempo training, and whether such things can serve as tools to help the trainee get a better mind-muscle connection or not.

Marketing Sexy vs. Marketing Longevity

  • Both Scott and Vince agreed that social media has watered down how people recognized value and expertise.
  • Vince: “Sell them on what they want, but give them what they need.”
  • Vince even says he’s been criticized over the years for making bigger ballsy promises (on what his market wants), but he tries to deliver what his market really, really needs.
  • Mike quoted an anecdote related to copywriter David Ogilvy (pretty sure the story came via current copywriter Ray Edwards in this interview here) in which Ogilvy was hired to write copy for a company, and when he handed the copy in, the company responded, “Whoa, whoa, you can’t say this! This is over the top?” and Ogilvy is like, “What? Look, you say this on page 78, and you say this other thing on page 116, and if you say both those things are true, then, logically, what I claimed also has to be true”  (i.e. a logical syllogism: all men are mortal, Socrates is a men, therefore it must be true that Socrates is mortal).
  • Vince noted that he has friends that sold crap and made a lot of money very quickly, but not they’re struggling.

4-5 Experts Vince respects:

  • For metabolism: Scott Abel
  • For mechanics: Tom Purvis
  • For program design: Ian King & Charles Polliquin

Training for Muscle Activation (…or… “innervation”!?)

  • Vince really likes RTS, or Resistance Training Specialists by Tom Purvis.
  • RTS has a lot of overlap with stuff Scott talks about related to controlling and owning the wieght. Your goal isn’t just to move the weight from A to B. It’s to use the weight to contract muscle fibers. (See Scott’s free Innervation Primer.)
  • Vince says you need to really think through your goal with each exercise: what are you trying to accomplish?  If your goal is muscle growth, the numbers are not the be-all end-all.
  • E.g., guys are able to lift more weight on the bench by thrusting their hips weigh in the air and butchering their form, but the one thing they aren’t doing is working their chest.
  • Vince also mentioned the way a lot of muscle gain advice boils down to, “Well, train harder.” Well, sure… but that’s simplistic. First, a lot of guys are training plenty harder than other folks who are seeing more results. Secondly, you’ll hurt yourself, especially when you look at the effects of training over the long term, and what you’re going to do to your joints.
  • Scott noted the difference between training at “optimal” work capacity versus “maximum” work capacity.
  • Bill Pearl: “Don’t workout to see how much your body can take; workout to see how much your body can give.”
  • Vince: “You are what you can recover from.”

Vince’s Principles of Mass Mechanics

Principle One: Principle of ownership.

You need to own the weight. You own the weight during both the eccentric and concentric phase of the movement: one pound at a time.

Principle Two: Principle of respect.

This is related to active and controllable range of motion. You bring with your certain anatomical qualities and leverages you need to respect. What is you active and controllable range for this exercise? This is individual. Deadlifts, for example, don’t need to be done from the floor.

Principle Three: Principle of disadvantages.

If you’re trying to build muscle, you should be trying to find ways to make things harder and get the most out of every movement. You’re not trying to get better at doing more reps or more weight. You’re trying to use the weights to isolate the muscle.

  • Bob Paris: “If I can make 300 lbs. feel like 500 lbs., then that is my goal.”
  • Vince likes micro progressions. Get it right and don’t develop bad habits.
  • What’s the number one thing Vince would recommend to someone who’s hearing all this and thinks it’s great? Answer: Quality control. Reps don’t matter if they all suck.
  • In Scott’s verbiage: every every rep of every set of every workout.
  • Another key: embrace your goal. Don’t jump between training for a big 1-rep max limit strength and training for muscle gain. Embrace the goal.

Benefits of Quantification? (A disagreement!)

  • One of the elements which Vince and Scott disagree about is with respect to quantification. Vince thinks some elements of quantification can lead to a better understanding or better mind-muscle connection. So he will sometimes assign a tempo or a guide or a few numbers here and there.
  • Scott doesn’t believe in outside-in stuff, but Vince thinks it can be a tool to get to the inside-out stuff.

Find out more about our guest today,
Vince Del Monte:


This is the site Vince recommends people check out. It’s the project he’s most proud of right now.


Vince’s main website.


Watch Vince’s stuff on YouTube.

Relevant SSP Episodes